37.3kg cocaine, others seized at Lagos airport, seven traffickers arrested

Seven suspected drug traffickers, who tried to either import into Nigeria or export to the United Kingdom and Italy illicit drugs, including cocaine, heroin and cannabis weighing 37.3kilograms, have been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

The NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, made the disclosure in a statement on Sunday.

The statement said the first attempt at bringing into Nigeria 76 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.150kg was on May 25, 2021 by Agudozie Peter Ihie, who was arrested during the inward security clearance of passengers on Qatar Airways flight from Kenya at the E-arrival Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

Babafemi said, “At the point of arrest, he was found to be in possession of 36 pellets of cocaine concealed in his pants. While under observation, he excreted additional 40 pellets. During preliminary interrogation, he confessed to having ingested the drugs in Nairobi, but became pressed during the transit period in Doha and excreted some wraps on board the aircraft en route Lagos.

“Barely two hours after the arrest of Agudozie Peter Ihie for cocaine ingestion, the NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport also intercepted 4.2 kilograms of heroin bound for Italy. Two freight forwarders have been arrested in connection with the seizure.

“During preliminary interview, one of the suspects stated that the consignment belonged to one of his customers based in Italy, and that it was sent to him from Benin, Edo State, through a transport company.

“On May 26, 2021, during inward security clearance of passengers on Qatar Airways flight from Doha, the NDLEA operatives at the E-arrival Hall of the airport also arrested one Nnakaihe Ikechukwu (aka Peprah Livinus) with 600 grams of cocaine. The illicit drug was cleverly concealed inside Ankara dress buttons.

“The suspect, who hails from Imo State, however, fraudulently obtained a Ghanaian passport using Peprah Livinus as his name. He is suspected to be a member of some of the illicit drug trafficking groups with multiple passports bearing different names in order to evade detection by security agencies.”

The NDLEA said on the same date, its operatives at the NAHCO export shed of the MMIA intercepted 30.150 kg of cannabis Sativa heading for Manchester in the United Kingdom via a British Airways flight and arrested one Chika Anyanwu, who is a cargo bag stitcher, in connection with the discovery.

The drug was said to have been neatly concealed inside 30 pieces of Bankus palm nut cream tins (banga soup) after the real content had been emptied.

Anyanwu in his confessional statement, reportedly admitted to having been contracted by one of his customers based in Manchester, who negotiated with him the sum of N1m, but that he was paid only N700,000.

The NDLEA statement read in part, “On Thursday, June 3, 2021, operatives equally intercepted 11 parcels of heroin weighing 1.2kg concealed in 11 packs of Indomie noodles at the SAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport. The drug was to go with an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Malaysia via Addis Ababa.

“A freight agent and an errand boy for the owner of the exhibit have been arrested in connection with the foiled bid.”

The Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), commended the Commander, Ahmadu Garba, officers and men of the Airport Command for their tenacity and commitment to the mandate of ridding the nation of illicit drugs.

He charged them to remain unrelenting and always watch out for the disingenuous modes of concealment, which traffickers were employing to beat detection.

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